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Moving to Seattle- recommend your neighborhood!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Moving to Seattle is quickly moving from a potentiality to a certainty, we booked our moving company for the end of May! (My partner will head out immediately while I stick around here with the kids until the beginning of July) That said, I'd love to get some recommendations from other moms on where to live. None of my friends who are in Seattle are parents yet, so what they would recommend wouldn't necessarily apply to me. We have a 7 year old, a 12 year old, and one on the way though, so quite a spread of needs. We homeschool, so school district isn't an issue for us, though being within an easy commute to the Homeschool Resource Center would be nice.


What I'm looking for:

*Within 1/2 hour drive/25 miles of Sumner, WA, where my partner has a job lined up.

*Affordable- absolute max of $1050 for a 2 bedroom, ideally closer to $800 or $900

*Close to public transit- we only have one car.


*City proper (not suburbs)

Close to library

Close to park, particularly one with programs for elementary/middle school

Close to museums and other educational opportunities

Access to good, inexpensive grocery store with great produce

High walk score in general



Thanks so much!


Edited by DTmama1 - 4/6/12 at 10:28am
post #2 of 13

Hi Melody,


I've lived in the area for over 13 years; however, I'm not very familiar with the Sumner. That said, I do want to encourage you to move as close to Sumner as you possibly can. The traffic in the Seattle area is horrendous and your DP will have a much better quality of life if he/she can live within a short commute/drive to his/her work. 


Also, the cost of living decreases the farther you get from Seattle proper. Craigslist will be your best resource for finding places to live.


Good luck! I hope you enjoy living here.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks. My DP and I both would really like to be in Seattle proper. Currently we live in the city of Chicago, and we've been told that Seattle traffic is rather minimal in comparison (particularly with the specific hours he'll be working). Right now he has an hour+ drive each way, so regardless of where we are in that limit, it will be cut in half. We know it will be more pricy, but we after being in a huge city for the last year, we've figured out that moving to the suburbs just isn't something we're interested in.

post #4 of 13
You may want to look at the WA state DOT website for commute times. I don't know what time your partner's commute is, but during rush hour Seattle to Sumner can easily be an hour. As far as Seattle neighborhoods go, I don't know a lot, but Greenlake is really nice!

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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you. I will check out Greenlake.


He is telecommuting for his job here in Chicago, so he will be working based on Chicago time, 6:30am-3:30pm or similar. We're comfortable going with half an hour in ideal traffic conditions when measuring. We also are not sure how long he will stay at this job, but it will be a good way to get our feet under us out there regardless.


Chicago literally has the worst commuter traffic in the country as of 2011, so sitting in traffic doesn't scare us so much. I will be homeschooling and relying on public transit though, so we feel that being in the city proper and linked up to those transit channels for the kids and I is important enough for him to have a slightly longer commute.

post #6 of 13

Sumner is quite far from Seattle-I think over 30 miles?  I live in Maple Leaf which is one neighborhood north of Greenlake.  Its really easy to commute by bus and I can walk to the either the Northgate library, park and community center or the Greenlake one.  There are a few rental houses (not sure if you are wanting a house or apt?)in our neighborhood-mostly 3 bedrooms- and the rents are around 1800-2200. I also really like the Ballard neighborhood!

post #7 of 13
Seattle proper can be pretty expensive for housing prices and I doubt you'll find one for your needs in your price range, in a safe neighborhood. I grew up in Seattle and lived there for 27 years. Public transit isn't that great but they're building a light rail system. I remember Sumner being pretty far from Seattle and not commutable, but I grew up on the eastside of the lake in Kirkland. In the last 10 years, traffic has gotten significantly worse due to the Tech industry. Greenlake is a great neighborhood, same with Fremont.
post #8 of 13

If Seattle proper is a must, you may have to sacrifice a bedroom to get your price range, and be in an area you like. Look for places where an extra area in an apartment/house can be used as a "bedroom," but isn't advertised as such. For your price range, look to the neighborhoods that are one step away from downtown either to the north or the south. Maple Leaf, Crown Hill, for example on the North side, and Beacon Hill, for example on the South Side. West Seattle may have options in your price range, but they are going to be doing construction on the bridge, and that will make commuting even worse. My DH and I paid $1,700 for a two bedroom in 2006-2009 in Fremont, but things are now more expensive. 


Also, the traffic here may not be as bad as in Chicago, as a whole, but we have a limited number of highways because of the water, so there are fewer options, and everything gets bottle necked. Our public transportation is getting better, but we have nothing as comprehensive as the el-train. The buses get stuck in traffic just like everyone else! Fortunately light rail is expanding, but is currently limited to the neighborhoods on the south side. For utmost access, you could check out all of the neighborhoods along the light rail. 





post #9 of 13

The traffic is awful.  I doubted it, too, when I moved to Seattle a few years ago from a larger city with what I thought was horrendous traffic, but Seattle traffic is just ridiculous.


Not sure about Sumner, but West Seattle has a lot of what you're looking for and you just might be able to find a 2bd somewhere near the top of your price range.  The construction on the bridge is something to think about, like PP mentioned, but hopefully that won't be an issue forever... Good luck and happy house hunting!

post #10 of 13

Sumner is close to Puyallup. I occasionally drive from West Seattle to Puyallup mid-day (opposite traffic) and it takes one hour. That's with no traffic congestion, and skipping Interstate 5.


Since homeschooling is important, have you considered the city of Renton? It'd be a lot closer to Sumner, and friends who homeschool really like all the homeschooling resources there.


Normally I encourage people to move to Seattle, because it can be wonderful here, but its traffic is not. Depending on which list you look at, Seattle is usually somewhere on the "top ten" of worst traffic. If I am driving from one part of town to another, and there is a bridge involved, I plan for a minimum of 30 minutes of travel time.

post #11 of 13

I can't speak to specific neighborhoods but as a Chicagoan/NWI-er whose family lives in Oly, Bellevue, and Seattle, I am constantly amazed by how horrid traffic is in Seattle.  I think between the water and bridges, the other thing that often strikes me is that there doesn't really feel like there is one area that all the commuters are heading to (like so many head to the loop in Chicago) nor is there a specific rush hour because of the flex scheduling a lot people (my family) work. Good luck finding a great solution for your family; I'm actually trying to work on a job that direction for our family!

post #12 of 13

I am going to be annoying and not answer any of your actual questions, but I do want to say that Seattle is a GREAT place to have a family!  Parks, nature, activities... there's so much of it, it's kind of overwhelming at times. ;)  There's a really active and wonderful chapter of Attachment Parenting International here, too, which is how I got my toe in the water and made other mama friends.  Here's the link:  http://apiseattle.org/


Feel free to contact me via PM or here if you have specific questions about any of that.  I think most of the other folks have addressed your pragmatic concerns.  It is definitely going to be tough to find somewhere to live at that price, but the neighborhoods recommended just might have something (Beacon Hill and south; Maple Leaf and north).  Good luck!  And welcome to town. :)

post #13 of 13

If you want to be in the city proper, you will want to be on the south side of the I-5 bottleneck at least.  If you are taking transit to Sumner (any suggestions?  Sound Transit?)  You could do well with being closer to downtown, but your budget will be blown out of the water.  That said, I haven't look at rental prices in years.  The areas like Rainier and Seward Park are getting pricier.  Columbia (Park?  I forget) is becoming  more of a magnet and has its own farmer's market.  As far as safety of neighborhoods, that's tricky because the worst intersection for gang and drug activity in town is 5 blocks away from one of the most expensive neighborhoods anywhere in the city.  


You will be lucky to find anything for $1000 in Seattle proper, let alone 800-900.  I think really you should look just a little farther south.  There are pockets of nice neighborhoods everywhere that aren't expensive or too suburban from Issaquah to Tukwila, from Puyallup to Auburn.  If it's the city you want, Tacoma has some nice neighborhoods, but again the traffic there is almost worse than Seattle.


We lived in the Meadowbrook area, adjacent to Lake City on the North End.  It was modest, close to good commuting buses (Lake City Way) that dropped you off downtown in one stop (still contending with freeway traffic, but LCW being a state highway--Bothell Highway--there are no meters on that ramp to I-5).  Close to Matthews beach on Lake Washington.  Not a good walking score.   But I still think you need to refigure your rent budget, and the commute from anywhere north of downtown will be a bear, both ways.  There are so many bottlenecks between there and Sumner, I just can't even imagine attempting it.  Your dh is going to be a slave to his car, and will that be a reasonable trade off?  


Sounds like with the specifics, you will be able to share a rental house with a family somewhere in the mid-section of Seattle.  There are a lot of good neighborhoods that are reasonably safe, near transit and all else you require.  I lived on the north side of Queen Anne for years.  It is expensive, but there are some more modest houses away from the views.  Still, not the best transit for commuting, but good buses everywhere.  And, again, you will have to share the rent with that budget.


In general, this area is crawling with homeschoolers and with some work you will find some community anywhere you go.

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